Time to look forward - O'Shea
Sunderland skipper John O'Shea has ordered his team-mates to draw a line under their fall-out with Paolo Di Canio and dig themselves out of trouble.
More than a week after the collapse of the relationship between the 45-year-old Italian and his players prompted owner Ellis Short to act, the Black Cats remain managerless and rooted to the foot of the Barclays Premier League table.
However, while confirming that the dressing room had played a part in Di Canio's demise, O'Shea has insisted the players must re-group to prevent the club from being cast adrift.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "That was obviously done. But we have to move on now.
"Because of the position we are in in the league, we can't keep going back to it. We have got some difficult months ahead.
"Whoever comes in, whether it's Bally [interim head coach Kevin Ball] or a new manager, we have got tough times ahead.
"We have to stick together and if we keep going back to it, it will soon be too hard to pull back from where we are."
Sunderland turned in a much-improved display in Sunday's 3-1 home defeat by Liverpool, but the fact remains that they have now collected just one point from a possible 18 and with Manchester United due to arrive on Wearside on Saturday intent on addressing their own losing streak, things could yet get worse before they get better.
The Black Cats are continuing to evaluate a series of potential candidates for the vacancy created by Di Canio's sacking, with Gus Poyet, Rene Meulensteen and senior professional development coach Ball, who has indicated his own interest in filling the role on a permanent basis, figuring prominently in the betting.
However, chief executive Margaret Byrne has revealed that discussions with several contenders have already taken place and talks with others will be held this week, and it appears an appointment is not imminent.
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